Please note I am not a doctor and none of this should be taken as medical advice, but we do have an opinion on the matter of kava usage and health.
Kava has been used in the South Pacific for thousands of years, and is rapidly gaining steam in the United States. If you google kava many of the links are about kava supplements causing liver damage. So is kava safe to consume? That may depend on how the kava is prepared and sourced.
In the early 2000s a variety of kava supplements hit the market in Europe and the United States. Some of them were linked to users having serious health problems such as liver failure, but traditional kava consumption doesn't seem to cause the same issues.
So what was/is wrong with how many kava supplements are made?
Traditionally kava is made from the roots of the kava plant. In the 2000s some supplement makers used non-traditional kava parts such stems and leaves that grow above ground. These parts are now known to be potentially hepatotoxic. Furthermore, many supplements used alcohol based extraction methods which are also linked to causing issues. Finally, many supplements did not do their research and sourced kava made with issa and tudei kava, cultivars that are also linked to many health problems.
What does this mean for kava users?
To protect yourself only use kava in moderation and buy your kava from suppliers with good reputations. Try to stick to suppliers who do third party testing on their products and DO NOT use supplements that are made using alcohol extraction methods on their kava. Drink kava the traditional way, using water based extraction methods. Enjoy!